Just before Tony Blair invaded Iraq, something which he had plainly already made up his mind to do, he sent out junior ministers to claim they were making a "last push for peace". It was the ultimate Orwellian linguistic trick - framing the warmongering government as peace-lovers, and the anti-war resistance to the government as the obstacle to peace. I was reminded of that episode the other day when Alyn Smith started his rather brazen crusade against "factionalism" within the SNP - which was really a pitch for people to vote for his own diehard faction in the name of anti-factionalism. And yet we know that one or two souls were naive enough to be impressed by his words and to take them at face value. So the question was whether enough people would be hoodwinked to change the trajectory of the SNP's internal elections over the weekend. Judging by Mr Smith's own result, his gambit failed.
Policy Development Convener Election (first preferences):
But in a sense this outcome poses a dilemma for one or two of the rebels too - having won the party back to some extent, won't it be harder to justify sabotaging the party next May by splitting the vote on the list?